Sometimes Feeling Small Can Make a Big Difference
When I was four, I promised myself that I would never forget what it was like to be that age. I was standing in the pasture watching golden grass taller than me dance in the wind. The sun was high up in the sky and no sooner than it warmed my face, the breeze would cool my skin. It was a magical moment of pure delight, wonder and awe. I felt big and small all at the same time. I also knew I was cared for.
To this day, I don’t know how or why I decided I needed to remember that particular experience. What I can say is that 40 some odd years later, I still find myself enjoying the warmth of the sun on my face during the day and chasing the moon and the stars at night. At lunchtime, I am a giant to the ants. After dinner, I am a microscopic being on a planet somewhere out in the Milky Way.
Feeling big around noon gives me the courage to go back to my desk and tackle that problem I’ve been trying to solve. But the greatest comfort comes when I am feeling small around midnight.
In that smallness I realize that no matter what mistakes I might have made during the day, it’s impossible for me to break an entire galaxy. And yes, I do my best to make sure the ripples I create are friendly to my immediate ecosystem. But whenever I feel like the world is falling apart, I find a dark place to observe the night sky. It’s vastness reminds me that the world is still here — and so am I. Then the feelings of gratitude find me.
I appreciate that my stargazing isn’t filled with sounds of gunfire, ambulances, missiles and fighter jets. I think about all the other people who are looking at the same constellation in their night sky. I wonder what their troubles are and if they have found at least one thing that they can help them feel okay when times are tough.
For me, starry skies are at the top of my list. They remind me how much peace I can enjoy when I change my perspective.